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Freeview reception has changed?

Why should my Freeview reception change when I have not changed anything?

Why should my Freeview reception change when I have not changed
published on UK Free TV

From time to time people find that their Freeview box, integrated set (idTV) or Personal Video Recorder (PVR) has lost many channels without any apparent changes.

There are a number of factors to consider

Freeview is broadcast on digital multiplexes. This means that, once broken down into a stream of bits, each television channel is combined into a single transmission of 1s and 0s. This means that reception is of the multiplex first if this is lost it affects all the channels in the multiplex in the same way.

The signal strength received by the box or TV for a particular multiplex from a given transmitter determines if the data can be received or not. So, a poor signal results in no data, an adequate signal in perfect data and a low signal in either none or all.

Poor digital signal levels do not result, as they do with old-fashioned analogue television, in a sub-standard picture or sound. Poor signals often result in a perfect data-stream, but are prone to periods of no reception. Sometimes this will be for hours, but can also be several times a minute when caused by induction from fridges, freezers, central heating systems, two-stroke scooters, baby monitors and so on.

If you have lost ALL your Freeview channels

First disconnect the aerial lead from the Freeview box or TV set and reconnect it and then follow this reset procedure to scan for channels again. If this does not result in services being restored, check the Freeview transmitters page to see if there are any engineering problems with your local transmitter.

How to check all cables, connectors and aerials

The RF connectors need to be in very good condition to work. There are two general types:

Factory-fitted connectors are very reliable as they cannot easily be taken apart, but they can be damaged by wear and tear. On the female-type the central section is often composed of two parts which can often be forced apart, resulting in a poor connection you can push them back together if this has happened with a pair of tweezers. On male connectors if the central pin is damaged, you will need a new cable. If there are any loose partials in the connector, remove them.

Another problem with these cables is that quite easy to sprain the connector at the back which causes little obvious external damage, but disconnects the internal connection. This happens often when a set-top box is pushed backwards into a cabinet.

Hand made cables can also suffer from similar problems to factory made ones and they are also prone to accidental damage from a cable being pulled. If such a connector is not firmly attached to the cable, the connector may need refitting.


Make a visual check of the cables. There are a few basic checks:

If the cable has been slashed or cut, it will not be very effective or reliable. If such a cable is fitted externally, this can allow rainwater to enter the cable and this will reduce the signal levels.

You can easily damage an RF cable by crushing it, for example in a door. If the outside of the cable has a permanent kink in the cable or has been very tightly looped, this could be the site of damage.


For reliable and effective Freeview reception, a rooftop aerial is required. It is hard to make a visual check of such an aerial without putting yourself in potential danger.

You can make a visual check of the route between the aerial and the transmitter. Any form of obstruction will damage the digital signals. In particular trees coming into leaf, as these will leech the signal before it reaches your aerial. This applies to both trees adjacent to the aerial and at a distance.

Another common problem in cities is building work. A large crane will often change position many times during the day, and if this is between your aerial and the transmitter this can reduce the signal levels in an unpredictable way.

If your system uses a booster, the power may have failed. Check the fuse to the power to the booster.

Weather problems

There are two main weather problems that effect Freeview reception.

The Inversion Effect: please see What is the Inversion Effect and why does it effect my Freeview TV reception?

Wind: high winds sometime can dislodge the aerial this results in a poor signal.

Rain: poor or old cables can fill with water and this results in a poor signal. If this happens, the cables will require replacement.

Help with Freeview, aerials?
How do I get a test card with Freeview1
I would like to know if it is possible to receive UK terrestrial Freeview servic2
I have been told I would receive too much singal from my Freeview tansmitter as 3
Can my Freeview box receive more than one BBC and ITV region?4
Is it true that my 87 year old mother is entitled to a FREE upgrade when the ana5
In this section
Official aerial installers guide to the TV spectrum future1
Which free digital TV system will give me the most reliable reception?2
High pressure causing channel loss through "Inversion"3
Digital Region Overlap4
Two frequency interference 5
Single frequency interference6

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

12:48 PM

david butler: Have you checked everything at the top of the page?

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Briantist's 38,908 posts GB flag
Thursday, 26 May 2011

11:18 PM

I have heard that as work takes place in preparation for switchover, viewers with Freeview may experience unusual effects such as certain Muxes disappearing, channels moving around in the EPG, and weak signals.

If after retuning you are still having problems, try using another TV/Box and aerial to make sure it's not just a one-off problem with your system.

If the problem persists with multiple boxes and aerials, and it has not improved after 24 hours, post it here on the relevant transmitter page and/or notify the relevant broadcaster.

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Thomas's 61 posts GB flag
Thomas's: mapT's Freeview map terrainT's terrain plot wavesT's frequency data T's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Rob Barden
11:38 PM

Hi I have a strange query. I have lost only one freeview channal. Tonight BBC4 just shows the daytime message "BBC Four is available from 7.00pm daily.." on the usual red back ground.

Any ideas why this channal is not showing this evening.

All other channals on this multiplex are fine and I have re-tuned my DVD players built in Freeview tuner

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Rob Barden's 3 posts GB flag
Rob's: mapR's Freeview map terrainR's terrain plot wavesR's frequency data R's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Friday, 27 May 2011
Monday, 30 May 2011
4:03 PM

Our TV with built in freeview which we have had for two or three years will not show any ITV programmes through DTV , we just get 'Poor signal'. It has been like this for about a month but we can get BBC programmes. We have to go to AV1 to watch any ITV programme . We have auto tuned and now the remote for the television is not working. We can still get programmes through AV1.

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Ronnie's 2 posts GB flag
Andy MacLeod
9:53 PM

I live in Aberdeen which has been transfered to digital only for a while and we lost a lot of our channels.
This was fixed by ditching the old aerials and getting a new one.
One of the old aerials pointed to a booster transmitter (Balgownie) which it used to get 1,2,3 & 4 on then when C5 came out another aerial was attached and when digital was first transmitted (Durris)this additional aerial picked this up.
When they changed over the closer smaller transmitter blarged the main further away one. All that should have known denied that it could happen and went sloppy shoulders.
points out of ten for Digit-al=1, the regulator =1.
So good luck to you all in the large urban conurbations as I doubt if they have learned a thing

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Andy MacLeod's 1 post GB flag
Tuesday, 31 May 2011

8:26 AM

Andy MacLeod: I can't really say without a full postcode. The most likley explanation is either your receiver is on the "doesn't work" list - see TVs and boxes that do not support the 8k-mode | - independent free digital TV advice or you now have too much signal. If you have any boosters or amplifiers, remove them from your system.

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Briantist's 38,908 posts GB flag
Thursday, 2 June 2011
11:54 AM

Help! Whenever our landline is in use it kills the digital picture on BBC channels. Any ideas? my postcode is BA6 8QE if that helps.

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AJ's 1 post GB flag
AJ's: mapA's Freeview map terrainA's terrain plot wavesA's frequency data A's Freeview Detailed Coverage

12:17 PM

AJ: I would guess you have a DUCT phone? If so, ensure that the base unit and handsets are kept away from your receiver and aerial cables.

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Briantist's 38,908 posts GB flag
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